AccessAlly vs. Zippy Courses: a comparison

We’re comparing membership management features, LMS functionality, course design flexibility, retention and engagement features, as well as e-commerce functionality in this AccessAlly vs. Zippy Courses review.

Spoiler alert: if you’re looking to earn more from your online courses and membership site, you’re going to love AccessAlly’s power features for membership management and built-in LMS.

Why we're creating this online course platform comparison

We’ve tested so many course software solutions for our business over the years.

When we couldn’t find a solution that would do what we needed, we dusted off our Software Engineering chops and developed AccessAlly. 

And to this day, we continue to test and review the options on the market so we can share that knowledge.

How do AccessAlly and Zippy Courses Differ?

AccessAlly and Zippy Courses can both be used to build and power your online courses.

This is where the similarities end, and where the differences begin.

Zippy Courses is available as a standalone platform as well as a WordPress plugin, but their focus is on their platform development so we’re focusing on their platform in this comparison.

AccessAlly on the other hand is a membership management and LMS WordPress plugin designed specifically for membership sites and online courses.

Its direct integration with your CRM paired with the flexibility of WordPress gives you full design freedom and powerful automation opportunities.

Plug-and-play framework vs. full design flexibility

When it comes to creating courses, Zippy Courses’s design options don’t look half bad out of the box. You’re able to create a clean, organized look within the Zippy Courses framework.

Their plug-and-play interface is easy to use and allows you to get your course up and running quickly, however, it can be stifling for those who value custom designs and want their brand to be strongly reflected in their online courses.

With AccessAlly’s Offerings Wizard, you can easily design any course structure you’d like using a combination of modules and lessons with the drag and drop course builder.

Plus you have full design flexibility as every lesson or module added is created as a WordPress page for you to add content in any format or layout you prefer, something you just don’t get within a framework like Zippy Courses.

AccessAlly’s Offerings Wizard will also create your WordPress menu for each course, and create all of the tags you use to control and restrict access needed in your WordPress interface synced with your CRM.

The flexibility you have with AccessAlly also makes it easy to keep your content or import it into another tool later. (But trust us, you won’t want to!)

Onboarding & customer support

Getting tech help when you need it means you can get back to taking care of your students and customers faster. That’s why quality customer support from your course or membership tool is so crucial.

A smooth onboarding experience and a strong customer support system isn’t always the top consideration when researching your tech tools, but it’s one of those things you don’t realize you need until it’s too late.

Zippy Courses doesn’t always receive the best reviews when it comes to response time for support inquiries, and their lack of thorough documentation makes it difficult for users to troubleshoot on their own. On the plus side, their interface is fairly easy to navigate and use, however, you could find yourself going down a rabbit hole looking for the answers you need if you hit a roadblock.

In comparison, here at AccessAlly, we receive raving reviews from our users when it comes to the level of support they receive and have access to.

We respond to all e-mail inquiries within 24 hours, Monday-Friday. In most instances, you’ll receive a response the same day, within the hour. We have a dedicated knowledgebase jam-packed with step-by-step tutorials, setup guides, and troubleshooting articles to help guide you in your setup process.

We also provide a complimentary Jumpstart call to all new users. You can use it right away to kickstart your course build, when you hit a roadblock, or right before launch to review your setup and answer any lingering questions.

You can also hop on our live group Tune-Up calls scheduled throughout each month, to ask questions and receive live support from our team. We’re always checking in and responding to inquiries posted in our very active user-group on Facebook, as well.

No question goes unanswered here at AccessAlly.

take payments directly, with abandoned cart follow-up, coupons, and 1-click upsells

When it comes to comparing Zippy Courses and AccessAlly’s e-commerce feature it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

You can collect one-time and subscription payments using Zippy Courses, however, there’s no real coupon functionality where you could offer a discount.

Zippy Courses also lacks the functionality to create free or paid trials for your offerings, and there’s not a way to recapture lost sales through abandoned cart automations at this time.

These features provide you with a significant amount of potential to increase revenue.

Fortunately, you’ll find all of these features and more in AccessAlly’s suite of e-commerce tools.

Not only can you offer one-time payments, recurring subscriptions, and installments or payment plans, but you can create 1-click upsells for other courses or memberships you sell. You can also create free and paid trial offers, as well as order bumps at the time of checkout to promote complementary products to the current offer.

Using AccessAlly’s checkout forms, helps you recapture a percentage of your lost sales thanks to our early contact creation feature for abandoned cart automations.

The best part?

Because AccessAlly has built-in payments and integrates directly with your CRM, you can easily manage and segment your sales and marketing funnels so your customers and prospects aren’t getting sold a product they already have.

Looking for an Option with less restrictions?

Have full control of your content, members, and their experience on your site.

Spend your time doing what you do best, not struggling with frustrating platform restrictions.

With AccessAlly, you’ve got all of the power and flexibility of WordPress, and there are no limits on your business’ growth potential either.

What AccessAlly Customers Are Saying...

Heidi Decoux

"We moved them over from Kajabi to Access Ally and every single member loves the new site!

I’m head over heels in love with AccessAlly! We saw an immediate increase in sales!

Access Ally is SO easy to use and integrates perfectly with Ontraport. We’ve had ZERO issues with it, which I don’t think I can say about any other software or tool or plugin we use. Plus the interface is beautiful.

We moved them over from Kajabi to Access Ally and every single member loves the new site. It’s extremely user friendly for our clients, and for us. AccessAlly is a brilliant, beautiful, user friendly platform that has had a direct positive impact on our bottom line.” – Heidi DeCoux, HeidiDeCoux.com

Eden Fried

"AccessAlly is the better option, hands down

“Honestly, Teachable, Thinkific, or Kajabi would have been the *easier* option, but AccessAlly with my WordPress theme is hands down the *better* option. It’s going to grow and scale with me over time, and that’s unbeatable.

AccessAlly allows me to provide a dashboard for all members, and it also allows me to create a member-directory (great for forming that community), an editable profile, plus lots of gamification features that can help members track their progress and reward them for their achievements.

AccessAlly integrates directly with my ESP, which gives me the functionality to track progress, send reminder emails. That’s priceless.” -Eden Fried, EdenFried.com

Progress display

progress tracking & metrics reporting

There are two types of progress tracking available with AccessAlly: front-end tracking for the users, and back-end tracking for the course admin.

Front-end tracking allows you to display user progress with a pie chart, a progress bar, or a simple percentage displayed as text.

In the backend of the website, AccessAlly Pro shows unique progress tracking stats so that the course admin can see at a glance how users are interacting with their course content.

These reporting features make it possible for you to gauge student success and see where the dropoff begins to happen in your courses. You can use this data to add various learning reinforcements and checkpoints to encourage and motivate your students to keep going.

AccessAlly also has additional reporting options through its built-in metrics feature for tracking sales, projected revenue, churn, refunds, and so much more.

Zippy Courses offers similar front-end reporting with a progress bar, but their back-end statistics are a bit lacking in granularity. Your business metrics aren’t as easy to track and analyze from within the Zippy Courses interface or reporting features.

Learning reinforcements in zippy courses vs. accessAlly

Zippy Courses isn’t a true learning management system.

The course builder includes quiz functionality that makes it possible for you to create multiple choice quizzes to help guide your students and reinforce your course material.

You can monitor quiz results and related stats from your Zippy Courses dashboard, but you don’t have the option to offer graded or non-graded quizzes (for example, personality-style quizzes), pass/fail quizzes based on a certain number of correct answers, or require completion of a quiz to unlock future content.

Zippy Courses is also lacking the ability to offer certificates of completion and assignment or homework submission features.

In comparison, AccessAlly features 3 quiz types – personality quizzes with multiple outcomes, scored quizzes, and pass/fail quizzes.

Once your quiz has been created inside the plugin settings, you can add it to the page with a simple shortcode.

AccessAlly’s certificate builder has a drag-and-drop editor so you can reward your students for their hard work and celebrate their success.

Just simply upload a certificate template (four versions are provided for free when you purchase the plugin or create your own!).

You can also use AccessAlly’s private notes feature for written homework responses or to upload other types of completed assignments such as videos, pdfs, and audio files.

Looking for something that integrates both ways?

Marketing automation tools are here to stay.

Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.

It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.

Email marketing envelope

maximize retention & increase engagement

AccessAlly takes student retention one step further with its private notes feature. In addition to using this feature for homework or assignment submissions, another important way for students to learn is through taking notes. With AccessAlly, you can create a few different variations of “Private Notes”.

You can add a note-taking area on any page or course module, that’s totally private and individual for each student.

You can also set up a “2-way communication” note, where you as the course administrator can reply to a student’s note. Think of this as a way to do private coaching or submit homework and get feedback on it.

Students can upload files directly on the site, and the site administration will get an email notification when there’s a new item to review.

AccessAlly also allows you to create a points or credit system to reward members.

If any of these engagement strategies mentioned above are on your wish list for your online course or membership site Zippy Courses isn’t going to make the cut.

styled member directories and full integrated member profiles in your CRM

To create community amongst your members, you can create beautiful, searchable member directories, sorted by your marketing automation platform tags when you use a plugin such as AccessAlly.

Your members can opt-in or out of your member directory, and even to purchase a premium listing opening up another revenue stream within your membership site.

You can decide what you want to include in your member directory – like a biography, or even points earned, and course progress.

Plus, with AccessAlly’s profile editing functionality, a member can update their name, email, address, and password… or any other custom field inside of your marketing automation platform.

All with one click and everything gets synced between your membership site and your CRM.

This type of functionality isn’t part of the Zippy Courses platform, and it also lacks other community-building features and integrations such as forums.

If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you

Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.

Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.

Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.

Examples of AccessAlly websites

bulk course enrollment and umbrella accounts

If you want to offer “bulk licenses” or the ability to have umbrella parent/child accounts, where a group leader can assign sub-accounts, say for a corporate training team…

As more and more businesses and organizations move their internal trainings for their team or staff online, this feature has become more desirable now, than ever before.

We’ve seen some unique and creative ways online course creators and membership site owners are leveraging this feature to increase revenue, and manage groups participating in digital training.

Bulk course enrollment and team licensing is a native feature in AccessAlly.

You can have multiple team managers, and even show student progress to the different administrators. Team leaders can see student progress and even quiz results.

Plus, AccessAlly allows you to design and customize the “member management” dashboard for team leaders and administrators to your liking.

Unfortunately, Zippy Courses does not offer this functionality.

zippy courses alternative that's open source, offers extensibility, and full control

With Zippy Courses, you’re hosting your website and courses on their closed platform, with no easy way to take your content with you when you cancel or decide to move on.

Because the Zippy Courses system is closed, you can’t easily extend it by installing add-ons and plugins. That means you can’t add an integrated forum, gamification, or other features that could improve your courses.

AccessAlly took a different approach: it’s a WordPress plugin that’s open-source, so anyone can see and read the code, and it’s easy to back-up and export your content.

With AccessAlly, you can take full control of the look and feel, and add the functionality you want.

your workflow on AccessAlly vs. Zippy Courses:

AccessAlly Logo
  1. Set up your WordPress site with your favorite customizable theme
  2. Install the AccessAlly plugin on your WordPress membership site
  3. Run through the AccessAlly onboarding wizard to integrate with your CRM and select payment settings
  4. Create your first offering with the Offerings Wizard and add your content
  5. Create emails in your CRM or in AccessAlly
Zippy Courses logo
  1. Setup a subdomain containing Zippy Courses (yoursite.zippycourses.com) or use your own domain
  2. Connect your payment provider 
  3. Create your course’s homepage and lessons for your course
  4. Add protected content, images, video, and/or audio files to your course
  5. Setup the most basic LMS features or integrate with a third-party system to achieve a true LMS
  6. Setup and test the registration system
  7. Connect a third-party CRM or setup basic student communications with Zippy Courses
  8. Stay up to date on platform releases and make changes accordingly

See How AccessAlly and Zippy Courses Features Compare

We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed AccessAlly to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package.

Protected course content Included checkmark Included checkmark
Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments Included checkmark Included checkmark
Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics Included checkmark Included checkmark
Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus Included checkmark  
Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip Included checkmark  
Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps Included checkmark  
Cart abandonment automation Included checkmark  
Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content Included checkmark  
Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion Included checkmark  
Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts Included checkmark  
Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles Included checkmark  
Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking Included checkmark  
Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes Included checkmark  
Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells Included checkmark  
Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting Included checkmark Included checkmark

The true cost of AccessAlly vs Zippy Courses

When choosing a course or membership platform, pricing is an important consideration.

With Zippy Courses you’re paying a premium monthly price, but lacking valuable features like learning reinforcements, offering bulk course enrollment, and creating the design of your courses and programs how you wish.

For a comparable price, and in most cases a lower investment, you’ll receive a membership management plugin and learning management system with all of the features mentioned above when you invest in AccessAlly.

In Summary

AccessAlly might be right for you if...

  • You know the value of your time, and you want a tool that will handle set up for you based on your instructions
  • You want everything to work seamlessly from one end to the other (payments, courses, and memberships) with as few plugins as possible
  • You’re looking to create an amazing customer experience, that’s functional, profitable, and helps you stand out in the marketplace
  • You like to geeky or you have advanced marketing needs and need lots of flexibility in your course platform

Zippy Courses might be right for you if...

  • You’re looking for a platform instead of software
  • You don’t have a specific design or brand presence in mind
  • You’re okay with a basic course setup with limited LMS features
  • You plan to have a basic payment structure with no intention to offer coupons or order bumps.

Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!

If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options.

We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too. Not sure what AccessAlly is? Watch the video to find out now, then book a call to discuss further:

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